By James Paladino ( | First Posted: Nov 24, 2012 05:58 PM EST

The space shuttle Atlantis travelled 125,935,769 miles during 33 space flights, including 12 missions to the International Space Station (Photo : Reuters)

On the International Space Station (ISS), NASA astronaut Kevin Ford and his crewmates, Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin, hosted an unorthodox Thanksgiving celebration, reports Fox News.

NASA has made considerable advancements in the science of astronaut food. "If you want to go all the way back to Mercury and Gemini, there were no holiday meals back then. All you had was cube foods and tube foods. We've definitely expanded greatly the amount of traditional items that we have made available for holiday times, and that only makes sense because when we started having crewmembers say on [the] space station long term, we knew every year we'd be hitting Thanksgiving and Christmas with somebody," says manager of NASA's Space Food Systems Laboratory Vickie Kloeris in an interview with

She adds,  "Thanksgiving is not a holiday that the Russians celebrate, but we have found that on orbit the crewmembers celebrate each others' holidays. They will take part in Kevin Ford's celebration on Thanksgiving, just as American crewmembers will take part in some of the Russian holidays."

The ISS crew, commanded by Ford, is on the station's Expedition 34 mission.

Food preparation for space travel isn't as straightforward as one might think, and the end product doesn't always turn out as expected. Kloeris notes, "We tried to come up with thermostabilized cheesecake, and we just flat gave up on it. The color changes we got were just too severe. Not everything works.

"When [food] goes through the thermostabilizing process, the chemistry of the food changes quite a bit. Often what happens is we'll take a formulation and we'll try it afterwards, and it's like, 'No, that's not acceptable."

Click here for a video of Kevin Ford sifting through the space-ready delicacies that NASA prepared for the crew's holiday celebration.

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